The Washington Times - May 11, 2011, 04:10PM

Rap music mogul Russell Simmons spoke to me on Tuesday about a range of topics from Donald Trump to Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. Mr. Simmons also expressed to me his thoughts about Osama Laden’s death and the reactions at Ground Zero following the announcement of the al Qaeda leader. I asked Mr. Simmons about the debate over how much credit President Barack Obama or former President George W. Bush should receive over the bin Laden kill.

“I wouldn’t want the credit for killing nothing. It’s good that we got Osama bin Laden, because he was obviously looking to promote more terrorism and, obviously, I’m not into the celebration of death. And I think that it was nice not putting the pictures out. It’s a cowboy rap, you know? I was disappointed looking out my window on Ground Zero,” he said.  “I live across from the World Trade Center and I saw like a mob scene of people and they were yelling. They were so happy. It was their celebration. They were drinking and yelling and it seemed like a mob. I just don’t like the implications of that.”


Mr. Simmons continued to explain why he believed the celebrations surrounding the death of bin Laden were wrong: 

“It’s never good when people are killed. It’s never good to celebrate it in such a way…I know it put’s closure in some people’s mind, but there’s a sensitivity in people that doesn’t always have to be satisfied, because they’re sensitive. In other words, to pump our fists—you know this guy caused a lot of harm and I guess justice was delivered. It would have been better if he was taken alive is my opinion.”

He added he is not necessarily sure he feels safe even after bin Laden’s death saying, “It’s obvious that the president was skillful in his work and that he finally got closure for a number of Americans. And do I feel safer? No not necessarily, but i believe they’re might have been people close to bin Laden. And so when I say I don’t feel safe, I’m not sure. There might have been people close to him…beholden to him. This might let go now some of that energy. And I’m praying that’s what happens.”

The founder of Def Jam Records among other enterprises further went on about his criticisms over the war on terror following the 9/11 attacks: 

“After 9/11, we took a lot of wrong steps. Instead of taking all the sympathy that the world had for us and all the support the Muslim world had for us, we squandered that. So we took the wrong route,” he said.  “So the way we handle the death of bin Laden is part of the way the world will view us and whether or not we can start to create a better relationship with some members of the Muslim community who are angry. Maybe all of the relatives of the two hundred or four hundred thousand innocent Iraqi civilians won’t think it was about religion or maybe they can,like, let it go.”

Listen to short audio clip here

Listen to longer audio clip here